t’s a session of poise, variety and sublime skill, moving from folk themes with Celtic lilts to hook-based funky pieces and evocative ballads. Some passages build like Brad Mehldau pieces, hinting at melodies and grooves. Sensuality has a stealthily playful theme and a steady Cuban dance pulse, but keeps throwing stylistic surprises. A startling new voice in contemporary jazz has arrived.
(via LA Jazz / Finding Jazz: Ahmad Jamal as Prospero in Costa Mesa)
Last night at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, we were thrilled by powerful forces of nature in the form of a rhythm section consisting of the formidable Herlin Riley on drums, the redoubtable Reginald Veal on bass, and the mercurially inventive Manolo Badrena on percussion. Presiding over the elements was the master himself, 82-year-old pianist and composer Ahmad Jamal, now in the seventh decade of his professional career. Touring behind their recent album, “Blue Moon,” the band could not have been in better form. In listening to Mr. Jamal’s work, I have often been struck by an apparent contrast in his artistic sensibilities. A master of lush, impressionistic and intensely pianistic phrases, he also seems to have the soul of a minimalist, surrounding his playing with broad musical spaces, which he generously invites his fellow players to fill with their own musical ideas. This dynamic was illuminated by the excellent acoustics of Renee and Henry Segerstrom Hall, and by the extraordinary tightness of the rhythm section, which often seemed like a composite entity with a life of its own. Whether seething with understated power, as in their performance of “Autumn Rain” and “Invitation” or dancing a delicately comic ballet, as in “Gypsy,” the balance between power and control was sublime…

(via LA Jazz / Finding Jazz: Ahmad Jamal as Prospero in Costa Mesa)

Last night at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, we were thrilled by powerful forces of nature in the form of a rhythm section consisting of the formidable Herlin Riley on drums, the redoubtable Reginald Veal on bass, and the mercurially inventive Manolo Badrena on percussion. Presiding over the elements was the master himself, 82-year-old pianist and composer Ahmad Jamal, now in the seventh decade of his professional career. Touring behind their recent album, “Blue Moon,” the band could not have been in better form.

In listening to Mr. Jamal’s work, I have often been struck by an apparent contrast in his artistic sensibilities. A master of lush, impressionistic and intensely pianistic phrases, he also seems to have the soul of a minimalist, surrounding his playing with broad musical spaces, which he generously invites his fellow players to fill with their own musical ideas.

This dynamic was illuminated by the excellent acoustics of Renee and Henry Segerstrom Hall, and by the extraordinary tightness of the rhythm section, which often seemed like a composite entity with a life of its own. Whether seething with understated power, as in their performance of “Autumn Rain” and “Invitation” or dancing a delicately comic ballet, as in “Gypsy,” the balance between power and control was sublime…